One of the less talked about reveals at the LA Auto Show is the extended length Lexus RX that now accommodates three-rows and up to seven passengers, filling an important gap in the luxury brand’s model lineup.
For some time Lexus has competed against other luxury crossovers in the RX’s size class who offer three-rows of seating. Customers have clearly been asking because now available is a new RX 350L and 450hL that has extra room and seating for either six or seven passengers.
Looking virtually identical to the two-row Lexus RX which will remain available, the three-row RX L has been lengthened 4-inches behind the rear axle and the rear gate angle made slightly steeper to make room for the extra row of seats and provide needed headroom.
It was an easy structural and engineering feat as the Lexus RX already shares its underlying chassis architecture with the three-row Toyota Highlander. It was only a matter of making its exterior sheet metal flow together nicely with the new silhouette.
And that it does. Most people would need to see the three-row RX L and two-row RX next to one another to really detect the difference. Down the side and up front, the rest of the RX 350L and RX 450hL look identical to the smaller models.
The interiors are also identically designed up and to the rear seating rows where the second-row now folds and moves forward to provide easy access to its new passengers sitting in the utmost rear. Standard leather seating comes with the RX L on the first two rows, the third a matching leatherette.
There’s a 40/20/40 split folding second row bench or a set of captain’s chairs available with a center aisle walk through. Creature comforts like HVAC vents are provided all the way back and rear climate controls are there too. The third-row seats power-folding standard as is a power rear lift-gate. For safety, the full side curtain airbags also extend to third-row passengers.
The rest of the Lexus RX 350L and RX 450hL remains identical to the existing RX line in terms of features, options, powertrain and chassis. RX 350L comes with a 290 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 and a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The RX 450hL hybrid features an Atkinson Cycle 3.5 liter V6 and two electric drive motors that combine for a healthy 308 horsepower. The system comes standard with all-wheel drive, the rear axle driven exclusively by electric power, the front axle by both the gasoline engine and an electric motor.
A standard Lexus Safety System+ includes as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane keeping dynamic radar cruise control just to name a few. A blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic braking can also be had along with a full 360 degree camera system.
The new extended length 2018 Lexus RX 350L starts at $47,670 and goes up from there with all-wheel-drive and if you choose the RX 450hL hybrid. They arrive at dealerships late this year.